No, I’m not-looking for union “friendly” investments, I’m looking for investments which will be profitable in the context of the rebound of the union movement in the US. One idea would be to short stocks where unions are may make inroads (e.g. Starbucks, Amazon, etc), but I’m a long-term investor who would rather not engage in shorting stocks. I’m more interested in industries which would benefit from pro-unionization sentiment and an increase in unionization in general.
Directly it sounds like unicorns. If unionizing leads to increase in labor costs, that seems hard to be good for stocks of the companies involved. So maybe competitors who are not unionized will benefit. That could include smaller size companies.
But indirectly, maybe workers will have higher disposable income so industries that will capture that could benefit.
For example, the longshoreman’s union has been blocking more modern automation in the unloading of shipping containers that would cost some of their members jobs. As such, when we have a supply chain problem, it’s harder to recover and we face shortages and higher costs. One beneficiary of this are container shipping firms, since the delays means many ships are waiting around for the slow unloading process, and hence fewer ships available at any given time to meet the demand for transporting goods.
Example stocks which I own along these lines include ATCO, CMRE, and ZIM.
Government should not get involved in this at all. There’s already a profitable niche industry of companies offering union-busting services to other companies where union drives start. It’s actually quite successful at it looking at the trends for failed unionizing lately.
There are things they can do legally to advise companies facing union drives. These would be fine. But they also figured out that the law is also pretty lenient on illegal behavior for union drive busting.
For me this is the extent to which the government should intervene if the law does no reflect the will of the majority of the people on the issue of what companies are allowed to get away with when it comes to union busting.
That said, from 2000 to 2020, % of employees in unions decreased from 12.9% to 10.3% in the US (-20%). But for all OECD countries combined, % of employees in unions decreased from 20.9% to 15.8% (-24%) over that same period. So it seems like a global trend rather than just something enabled by lenient US laws. (data from the OECD site itself)
I think this is a good answer to the OP’s question.
Not sure those comapnies are pubilcially traded but if you could invest in them then they’d be a theoretical way to capitalize on the resugence of unions. Or at least the talk about unions… which is all I see.
I think those numbers mix private employement and government jobs. Unionization trends in private vs government jobs are pretty different situations. I think it is more useful to look at the private and govt. rates seperate. In the US at least unionization rates in governemnt jobs are much more intractable and I don’t think they’ve been changing much.
I think it’d depends. It seems like successful unionizing is not on the rise. If this stagnation or decrease in union numbers is due to the industry to combat unionizing, then you’re right that investing in them could be an opportunity. But I’m not convinced this is the explanation behind the global trend since not every country has similarly lenient laws (and the related industry) against union busting.
As far as distinguishing between public and private unions, that’s a fair point. I just could not find numbers that segregated the data along those lines. It could be that public unionization is more stable than private unionization.
I don’t think its that jobs moving between states.
Lots of union jobs have been in local things you can’t just move. Plumbers, grocery stores, etc.
There really hasn’t been a mass exodus of jobs between states in the past 50 years.
edit to add ; However there has been a lot of long term population migration between states. So people moving to southern right to work states has been part of it. The spread of air conditioning may have contributed to union losses more than anything.